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Sailor Ranko: Thrice In A Millennium: Chapter 12, Destination, China.
by
Rebecca Ann Heineman

Ranma 1/2 and the characters therein are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. Based on "Sailor Ranko" by Duncan Zillman and "Twice in a Millennium" by Kevin D. Hammel.

I don't own these characters. Please don't sue me, kill me or vote yes on lobotomies for fanfic writers.



The trees behind Furinkan High School rustled and creaked in the cold night breeze. Darkness engulfed everything except for two tiny pricks of light that slowly moved a meter and a half above the grass. A tall, lanky man trudged as best as he could into the wind, holding in his arms a small stack of books and scrolls.

The man could easily stand one and three quarters of a meter tall, if he ever stopped slouching in his natural gait. His sunken eyes and pasty skin made him look like he should be resting in a coffin instead of walking in a forest at night. His mop of black hair was held in place by a two centimeter wide band of cotton cloth that he wore as a head band. Tied to each side of this strip of cloth, just above his eyes, were two small headlights that lit the way in front of him.

Another blast of cold air flew down the path, knocking the man aside and backwards into a tree. Books went flying everywhere and he scrambled to pick up his fallen possessions while muttering an all too common curse. "Damn you, Saotome."

A few moments later, Hikaru Gosenkugi held his cargo of magic tomes in his arms again and snickered. "Just you wait... I'll get you... I'll get you good..." He remembered the time he had the 'One Punch' battle armor and tried to defeat Ranma with it. That incident ended in a spectacular explosion. He was still making payments to Furinkan High School for the damage he caused to the field.

He then tripped on his own two feet, planting his face into the soft grass. Just before darkness claimed him, he muttered. "Well... Maybe tomorrow."

Somewhere, out in a remote part of the solar system, a dark creature had to wait another day. He was getting really tired of waiting.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Akane burst out the tiny restroom of her apartment, grabbed her school bag from the living room table and dashed out the door. "I'm late! I'm late!"

Nodoka's hair fluttered in the micro windstorm and the bento she held vanished when Hurricane Akane whizzed by. Using her newly freed hand, she straightened her hair back into a bun. Papers and dust settling to the ground were the only things that remained in the girl's wake. The elder Saotome waved her hand in a greeting that could not be seen by its intended recipient. "Bye, Dear! See you tonight."

A snore was heard coming from the bedroom and Nodoka slowly shook her head in disappointment. She stood in the doorway, sadly looking down at her son, sprawled out on top of the covers on the western style bed. Holes dotted the wall alongside his sleeping spot, created by Akane's tossing and turning and Ranma's ability to instinctively dodge the blows. The pair even trained in their sleep, she surmised.

Taking Akane's bokken that rested against the doorway, she poked her son from a safe distance, not knowing if he was going to strike. It generated no response. She poked him again. No response. She tapped his chest with the tip of the weapon and admonished him. "Son, it's time for you to get to school. Don't be like your father."

He mumbled. "C'mon, Pops, I won last time..." He turned onto his side and went right back into a deep sleep.

Nodoka stood aside from the doorway in preparation of Ranma's imminent awakening. She hated to use this technique, but Ranma had only fifteen minutes to be in his homeroom. "Ranma, breakfast's ready."

WHOOSH!!! Mrs. Saotome spun around like a top and the sounds of munching was instantly heard coming from the kitchen. "Well, that never fails." She smiled.

In the kitchen, Ranma was inhaling his bowl of rice and washed it down with a cup of soup when he saw his mother enter. Not pausing to speak, he mumbled with a mouthful of food. "Oh, hm, mmm! Thms mastes gremm."

Placing a makeup kit on the table, she sat down. "Son, what have I told you about table manners?"

Swallowing the last of the soup, Ranma sheepishly answered. "Sorry, Mom."

"You don't have much time, so I'll get you ready here." She opened the makeup kit and took out a small jar of facial moisterizer.

"Why ya gettin' all fancied up for, Mom? Got an appointment or something?" Ranma got up to leave.

"Me? Don't you remember what day it is today?"

"Uh..." Ranma's eyes wiggled in their sockets as his brain desperately tried to deduce the answer to the question. It found dozens of files on martial arts, running from angry shopkeepers, martial arts, 101 ways to insult people and gee, more martial arts. Coming up empty, his brain punted, "Yeah."

"Then?" She opened the jar and held it up expectantly.

Still trying to come up an acceptable answer, another reflexive instinct kicked in. "I'm late!" He dashed into the restroom to change. A moment later, he called out from within. "Mom, where's my clothes?"

"They're hanging on the door, where I've always put them."

A shuffling sound was heard before the door creaked open, "You sure? I only see Akane's uniform here."

"That's not Akane's."

"Wadda ya mean..." His grey matter snapped its fingers as the knowledge it was looking for was found. "It's Friday, isn't it?"

"And you've got twelve minutes to get to class."

He slowly closed his eyes and gave out a small breath. "I'll be right out." He shut the door and the sound of a tap was heard. A minute later, Ranko came out, dressed in her Juuban High School girl's uniform. The sailor suit had a dark blue skirt with a white blouse. She walked over to the chair nearest her mother and sat down.

"This will only be a moment." Nodoka applied just a touch of moisterizer on her neo-daughter. She applied a little foundation and just a hint of blush. Ranko's natural beauty needed no make up at all, since her features were already close to perfection. "There, now, have you considered wearing a different hairstyle?"

Reacting, Ranko threw both hands up with warding gestures in her hands. "No! Stay away from my hair!"

Taken aback by Ranko's sudden flinch, Nodoka moved away a little as well. "What's the matter, Dear? I just asked if you'd consider a new style, that's all."

Feeling stupid, she relaxed and put her arms down. "Sorry, it's just that I've got a friend who... Nevermind, it's not important." She got up and grabbed her school bag and lunch bento. "Gotta go."

She paused for a moment to look at herself in a small mirror on the wall. She was pleased with her good looks, then noticed the time. "I'm late!!"

Only an outline of white dust particles remained where Ranko stood. The sliding glass door that led to the balcony was magically in the open position and a gust of wind marked the exit path that went twelve stories, straight down.

Nodoka smiled. "If I had ever given birth to a daughter, I would have wanted her to be just like you." She closed the makeup kit and smiled wider in pride. "I have given birth to a manly son... And a womanly daughter." She softly rubbed her forehead as a headache came on. "Truly, women in the Saotome family go through trials and tribulations."

She reached over to her little pill box to search for an aspirin.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I'm late! I'm late..." Ranko spoke to herself as she ran along the rim of a stone wall. "Man, my teacher's gunna kill me." She reached the end of the wall and jumped with a little ki to clear the street in a single bound. A few lucky, or not so lucky men fell over with smiles on their faces and a trickle of blood coming from their noses at the free show they witnessed.

Ranko got to the end of the block and hopped onto the sidewalk, whizzing around pedestrians at a breakneck pace. She turned another corner to get in sight of the entry gates of Juuban High School when she ran into an old friend, literally. Both people obeyed the laws of physics this time around and fell backwards onto their rear ends. Ranko was able to recover first. "Watch where you're going, you nitwit! I'm late!"

Ryoga growled at first, ready to pummel this person into ground beef but stopped when he saw that it was a girl he had plowed into. "Hey! You're the one who... Uh... Er..." He fiddled with his fingers as he tried to form a cohesive sentence, a task that was beyond his abilities in the presence of a pretty girl. "Um... Oh..."

Mousse stepped up to help Ryoga off the ground. "I'm sorry Miss if my friend startled you." He squinted his eyes at the blurry image in front of him. There was only one girl he knew that had that same color hair. "Ranma?"

"Mousse? Whatcha doin' here? Aren't you supposed be back at the cafe or somethin'?" Ranko said while picking up her school bag, checking inside to see if her bento was damaged. No one touched her food, or there would be hell to pay.

Ryoga snarled and shot up, pulling out his umbrella from the top of his backpack. "Ranma! What are you doing dressing up like a girl! What will Akane think? In the name of Akane, I'll punish you!"

Ranko dodged the thrust with the umbrella, spun around and planted her foot on Ryoga's backside sending him forward and face first into the sidewalk. "It goes, in the name of the Moon, moron." Ranko shuddered at what she had just said.

"Just why are you dressed like that?" Asked the almost blind man. "Has the curse finally warped your mind?"

"Hey, it's none of your business." She did a somersault straight up into the air as Ryoga ran under her in another attempt to smash her. She landed with her arms in a "V" position like a gymnast. "What are you doing here? Did you ask Mr. Broken Compass to take you to China or something?"

"Matter of fact, that's where we're going." Smiled Mousse. "Was wondering if you'd want to tag along?"

"Why?" Ranko bent backwards from the hip so her head touched the ground while her legs and feet remained in place. Instantly, Ryoga flew overhead, wildly swinging at empty space and crashed into the school wall. Ranko bent back upright. "Why would I want to go with you to China?"

Mousse reached into his sleeve of his Chinese robes and pulled out a set of brass knuckles. He dropped that and reached in again, this time pulling out a stick of dynamite. He extracted a bag of potato chips, a metal chain, a deck of playing cards, a live ferret and a spare pair of glasses.

While Mousse was searching his robes, amassing a large pile of stuff in the process, Ranko allowed her legs to fold and she flattened herself on the sidewalk with the skill of a limbo dancer. From her position, she rolled over to get out of the way of the umbrella that smashed the ground she once occupied. Ryoga was sitting on top of the umbrella to give it more mass for the impact. Ranko rolled face down, twirled her legs and kicked the umbrella sending Ryoga flying into the air and landing in the branches of a tree. She completed her spin like a caffeinated breakdancer, jumped into the air, landed and hoisted the umbrella out of the ground and over her shoulder.

"Ah ha! Found it!" Mousse presented Ranko with a full color brochure with Chinese writing.

She trembled in recognition at the document. "Th-That's..." She nonchalantly opened the umbrella and held it to her side. Dozens of bandannas harmlessly bounced off of it.

"Aren't you excited?" Mousse could barely contain his glee. "It's the map to Jusenkyo!"

"J-J-Jusenkyo? What sort of a moron are you? Wait a second, I forgot who I'm talking to." She closed the umbrella and shoved the handle into a crack in the ground like a pole vaulter would plant his pole. A moment later, the other end was shoved into Ryoga's chest as he charged again. The make shift pole sent the part time pig flying overhead and across the street, making a loud crash as he slammed head first into a trash can. "You're not really thinkin' of goin' there, are you?"

Mousse's jaw dropped, things weren't going as planned. "What do you mean Saotome? Don't you want to get cured?"

Not anymore, thought Ranko. But then, these guys didn't have a clue about her other hobby and she wasn't going to tell them. "Uh... I guess."

"Great! Then let's go!"

"Hold your horses buddy!" Ranko opened the umbrella again to deflect a second, more intense barrage of flying bandannas. "I didn't say I was gunna go with you. Remember last time we tried to get a cure? You and P-Chan over there were so busy trying to figure out which packet of Nannichuan was the real one, that the barrel fell into the river."

Mousse blinked as he recalled a time where the three of them had each purchased a packet of unlabeled Jusenkyo cursed powder and only one packet was the real cure. Only when the first two packets were found to be from the Spring of Drowned Saber Tooth Tiger and Spring of Drowned Pterodactyl, did they know the last was Spring of Drowned Man. In their haste to see who would jump in to be cured first, the barrel of the blessed water was knocked over, rolled down a hill and fell into a river to be lost forever. During the entire time the barrel was plummeting down the hillside, the three were beating each other up like the Three Stooges instead of working together to save their cure. It wasn't the trio's best moment in history. "Oh, yeah. But this time it's different."

"Well..." Ranko lunged forward and did a handstand as Ryoga rushed by like a bull trying to nail the matador. A twang was heard as a light pole vibrated from the impact of Ryoga's fist. "How about the time we went to the Japanese Nannichuan, huh? You were a big help there."

"Hey, don't you try to blame that on me! If you hadn't needed the old monkey's help, you'd kept me out of it. Here I am, trying to help you and this is the thanks I get." Mousse crossed his arms in his sleeves and turned his head to the side and huffed. "See if I help you again."

"Help me again!?!" Yelled Ranko incredulously, "The way I see it, you owe me big time buster. If it hadn't been for you, losing all of our money, I wouldn't have had to work as a waitress when we went to Mt. Horai. I still can't believe that you thought that that stupid statue was your backpack, geez!"

"Well, you did make us all the money we needed from the tips you got."

"Tips! What's this with me and gettin' a good job anyhows! I go to Ucchan's and work as a waitress, I go to the ol' ghoul's place and I end up as a waitress. Heck, next week, I start my ol' job back at that Sushi place and guess what I'm uniform I'm wearing?" She paused, only to leap straight up into the air as a yellow and black blur flashed by.

"A... A bunny suit?" Mousse guessed.

"Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. Yeah, there was that time I had to work at that casino to pay for Nabiki's little date with that Kinnosuke creep. I almost ended up being sold. Brrr..." She shivered. It was just another reminder of why she hated Nabiki so much. "Anyways, I'm gettin' a little tired of waiting on customers. So, thanks, but no thanks pal."

"Heh." Mousse smirked. "The great Ranma Saotome isn't a man after all. C'mon Ryoga, we don't need him." He waved his arms and the giant pile of assorted junk that came from his robes vanished without a trace.

"Ranma Saotome! This is all your fault!" Ryoga stood his ground and got depressed, which was his usual state of being. "I thought you were a man!"

"Hey, I'm more a man than you are!" Came the statement from a red haired girl in a Juuban High girl's uniform, lipstick, foundation and just a hint of blush.

"The world is a dark and lonely place." Ryoga whispered as a green glow formed around his body. He placed his hands into position to launch his ki attack. "You did this to me."

Ranko took a step back and saw that they were surrounded by dozens of high school students who had gathered to watch the fight. If Ryoga launched his attack, many innocent bystanders would be hurt and Ryoga didn't look like he cared at all about the collateral damage.

The hidden weapons master was pleased at this new turn of events and followed through. "Then prove it, let's get rid of these stupid curses once and for all."

Ranko frowned as she admitted to herself that Ryoga was right. She was responsible for doing this to him. He was cursed to be a pig because she knocked him into the spring of Drowned Piglet. If she helped take him to his cure, the debt of honor would be paid in full. Either that, or watch the Sailor Senshi show up to stop Ryoga from leveling the rest of the Juuban district. "Fine, I'll help you two get to Jusenkyo."

"Ranma Saotome, prepare to... Huh?" Ryoga blinked. Ranma was actually going to help?

Grinning, Mousse stuck out his hand to shake Ranko's. He clasped the hand firmly and held it up to his heart. "Thank you Ranma! Now we'll all get cured!"

"EEEKKK!" Screamed the tall schoolgirl that Mousse was talking to. She smacked him on his head with her school bag, then threw him over her shoulder. "My old boyfriend would never have done that!" Makoto Kino huffed in righteous indignation. "Masher!"

Ranko made warding signs at Ryoga, who was slowly coming out of his trance. "Ease down there, guy! No need to use that. C'mon, think of Akari."

"World... Dark... Lonely..." Ryoga moaned, still feeling bitter and depressed.

"Look, soon you'll be a whole man again, doesn't that sound nice?" Ranko sweated, hoping that Ryoga would snap out of his despair before the area was consumed by his heavy ki.

"A... A whole man?" Ryoga looked up. "This isn't another trick, is it Ranma?"

"My, my, look at the time. Mako-chan, could you tell Akane that I'll be busy for a day or two or three. I gotta take care of something." With that, she grabbed Ryoga by the collar and led him down the street with Mousse following.

"Just who were those people?" Makoto slowly shook her head in dismay. She looked down and found Ranko's backpack laying at the edge of the shallow crater in the concrete. She reached down and picked it up. "I don't think Akane's going to like this." With that, she spun on her heel and pushed through the dispersing crowd to get to her homeroom.

Down the street, a redhead was leading the lost boy toward the waterfront. There, she knew that they could board a boat to take them to China.

Ranko's mind was elsewhere. She thought to herself. "I just have to wait for these guys to fall asleep, I teleport them to China and then I'm history."

Ryoga's mind was elsewhere. He thought to himself. "I just have to jump in the spring of Drowned Man and I'm free of the pig! Yes!" Somewhere, deep inside his consciousness, he wondered just how Akari would feel about this. She wanted him to be a whole man again, didn't she?

Mousse's mind was focused at the job at hand. He mentally checked off another part of the plan. Watching the redhead pulling the lost one in front of him, he happily awaited the next phase of the mission. "Soon, we'll get to Jusenkyo and it'll look like an accident." He cracked his knuckles. "Yeah, with you out of the way, Shampoo's finally mine."

He stopped. "Hey you two!"

Both Ranko and Ryoga turned to face him. "What?"

"The airport is that way." He pointed to a subway station.

Ranko tilted her head in confusion. "Airport? Why would we go there? Who's got that kind of money?"

Mousse pulled out a wad of bills. "I do."

Ryoga's eyes glistened with tears. "I'm going to be a man again."

Ranko grabbed Ryoga's sleeve with more force than before. "C'mon you, the sooner we get to China, the sooner I don't have to listen to you."

The boy with the puppy dog eyes and blissful smile gave no resistance and joyfully whispered like a mantra, "Free of the pig. Free of the pig..."

Mousse gave an evil smile. "Yes, the sooner we get to China, the sooner I don't have to listen to you either."
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ukyou sighed as the teacher wrote on the white board some complicated looking math equation. The chef's eyes drifted as they always did to an empty desk in the middle of the room. Once, not long ago, her fiancee slept there and she would feel comfort in his presence. Knowing he was there made each day go by with just a hint of happiness. Her heart felt as empty as the desk she stared at.

She leaned forward, placing her head in the palms of her hands, resting her elbows on the desktop. She breathed slowly, not really listening to the boring lecture on how to calculate the surface of an irregular polygon. Closing her eyes, she could see him; his long black hair, his tall physique, and his smile. Ukyou's face looked happy at that thought. Yes, when he smiled was when her heart filled with joy. The face blurred for a moment and she saw the smiling face of a man in a white kimono, with two bows in his thick long hair. His lips, coated in a bright pink color and a look of deep caring in his eyes.

The chef popped open her eyes and sat upright, rigid in fright. She didn't just daydream of her roommate, did she? She stuck her tongue out in disgust, "Yuck." The idea of dating someone who out did her in every aspect of being female gave her a chill. But then, Ranma wasn't much better. When he put his mind to it, he could use his female form in ways that put supermodels to shame.

A strange sound coming from outside drew the attention of the class. Hundreds, then thousands of black birds circled over a spot a few blocks away. The sheer numbers of them made quite a racket. Several students got out of their chairs to take positions at the window to get a better look. Ukyou, being taller than most, had no problem seeing where this flock was going.

They were directly over her restaurant and she grew frightened. "Teacher, I gotta go."

The math teacher was about to protest, but watching his student dive head first out of a third story window stifled that idea. He opened the attendance book and found Miss Kuonji's name. He tore off an absence form from the pad on the desk and looked at the checkboxes.

Name of student:___________________
Time of absence:___________________
Date of absence:___________________

Reason for absence (Check one):

1. Kidnapped
2. Drugged
3. Fight
4. Act of god(s)
5. Amazon raid
6. Principal's request
7. Training journey
8. Panty raid
9. On quest to find cure for curse
10. Drained by Miss Hinako
11. Food poisoning
12. Went insane
13. Bad hair day
14. Sick
15. Other ____________


Appropriate special cases (Check all that apply):


* Offsite incident
* Will return today
* Will return tomorrow
* May never return at all
* Has assumed another form (Please specify) __________
* Has changed in age. See attached transfer forms to alternate school.


Teacher signature __________
Student signature (If the student has hands) __________

He filled in the form, taped it to the student roll and closed the book. "All right students, back to your desks."

Yuka called out to Ukyou as she bounded over the wall of the school. "Be careful, Ukyou!"

Sayuri shrugged. "Where's she going in a hurry?"

"Ahem!" The teacher stood behind his podium. "Shall I locate Miss Ninomiya?"

Even though very few students in the room practiced martial arts, they all flawlessly excuted the Saotome School's technique of jumping into their assigned seats.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Why that jerk!" Akane snapped her pencil in two. "Running off with Ryoga and Mousse at a time like this!"

Minako was fuming as well. She and Akane were in their P.E. uniforms and stood in the gym next to the volleyball court. "We've got a game Monday night, and Ranko was our spade in the whole."

Makoto flinched as yet another fractured proverb came from the lips of her Senshi teammate. She didn't know whether telling these two that Ranko was absent for possibly a week was a good idea, but the deed was done. Both were raising battle auras for different reasons.

"That's just great. Mako-chan, can you fill in for Ranko today? Yuuki's sprained her ankle and Mariko's on vacation with her family and we need six players."

"Where's everyone else? What about the alternates?" Makoto asked while trying to avoid her t-shirt from catching on fire from the heat emanating from Akane.

Minako slumped and pointed to a group of girls at the end of the court. Naru was there plus a certain bubble headed blond with twin pony tails and the coordination of a drunk blind person who was spun around in a dryer.

"You don't mean?" Makoto gasped. "How did she get on the team?"

Minako looked up with half lidded eyes. "She didn't, she's an alternate. Which means, that if Ranko doesn't show up..."

Akane nodded. "I'll find her." She produced her Senshi communicator from somewhere and ran off to find a place to call her wayward husband. Out of earshot, she opened the little watch like device and dialed Sun's extension.

In the classroom, where Makoto had stashed Ranko's school bag, the beeping of a Senshi communicator was heard.

Akane grew impatient with every ring. Finally, the line was picked up. "Ranma, you..."

"You've reached the voice mail for Sailor Sun. This had better be important!
BEEP!"

Akane growled into the microphone, seething in fury.
"RANMA!!!!"

Inside the gym Minako and Makoto shivered. The tall girl spoke first. "I take it that she's not answering."

Minako looked over at Usagi just as a volleyball was thrown to her. The blond jumped up, twisted and caught her legs in her hair, falling down flat on her belly. "Ouchie!"

The girl who also doubled as Sailor Venus closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. "I think we'll just forfeit and save ourselves the embarrassment."

Makoto held onto Minako's shoulder. "I think you may be right."
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ukyou ran faster and faster, taking to the rooftops. The birds ahead had flown away, but her danger sense had kicked into overdrive already. With a super human leap, she cleared a city block and touched down only a hundred meters from her store. The few pedestrians on the sidewalk made a clear path for the chef to dash through. Super martial artists running at high speeds were a common occurrence, so no one paid any attention to the boyish looking girl with the giant silver spatula.

She skidded to a halt at the doorway of the Ucchan's. Assuming a stance, she made some gestures with her arms and cried out. "I am Sailor Moon, and in the name of the Moon, I'll... I'll. What the heck am I doing?!?"

Shaking her head to clear it, she paused and took a good look at the interior of her shop. She saw numerous things wrong with this picture. A window was broken outward, black feathers covered the side alley and the front of the store. The final part almost made her want to drop her weapon and cry.

Blood everywhere.

Lots of blood.

"Ko-chan?" She asked timidly, hoping that the source of the red liquid that covered almost everything in the store was not from her waitress. She used her spatula to push aside the door and stepped inside.

The restaurant looked like a bomb had gone off. Tables were overturned, chairs shattered, and countless shurikens were stuck in the walls, ceiling and the long counter. The smell of death was overpowering as she stepped forward and heard a crunching sound. She lifted her foot to find feathers and glass glued together with a red paste. Terror gripped her as she looked around for any sign of life. "Konatsu! Can you hear me?"

In the debris, she saw small bulges about the size of rats. She poked one feather covered object and it gave way to the pressure. She scraped aside the feathers and found a dead blackbird underneath. It had a shuriken stuck in its chest.

Taking a step back, she scanned the room for how many birds had died. She stopped counting once she reached fifty and had only covered just a small section of the front of the store. Ukyou shouted to the lifeless room. "Ko-chan!"

Worry filled the girl's heart. Konatsu must have been out of earshot or dead if he didn't answer her call. Fearing the latter, Ukyou trudged through the mess and ran up the stairs to her bedroom. Thankfully, her bedroom only had a few feathers, but no other more disgusting matter. "Where did I put that thing?" She opened her underwear drawer and pulled out the Senshi communicator that Ranma had given her a while ago. She dialed Ranma's number and got the answering machine. "Ranma, this is Ukyou, Something's happened at my shop, I need you to come right away."

She pressed the end call button. And tapped her foot trying to figure out things. "Okay, my shop's full of birds. I was attacked by bird people. Ko-chan kicked their asses. But where is he?"

She sat on her little bed. "Did they?" She searched her room for anything human sized, utterly terrified at what she might find. She ran down the hall, conducting a room to room search. She checked the wash room, the upstairs storage room, the guest room and found nothing but feathers and dead birds. She went back to the top of the stairs, holding her nose to ward off the growing stench of freshly rotting meat.

Slowly climbing down the stairs, she continued her search, checking everywhere for any sign of her kunoichi. She stopped at Konatsu's tiny room under the stairs and slid aside the paper door. "Please don't be..." She pulled on the little chain to turn on the tiny light bulb to illuminate his alcove. She breathed a sigh of relief in finding the bed empty and everything in order. She noticed a tiny bulge in a clump of dirty laundry. She pushed aside one of Konatsu's panties to find a tightly bound scroll. It looked familiar.

She undid the clasp and unrolled it, reading the text she instantly recognized. "I love Ukyou, I love Ukyou..." It read, over and over again. She rolled it back up and returned it into its hiding place. She looked around for any other place that her servant could be and spotted the door to the back alley. She went outside to where she and Konatsu would train and found the area was a battlefield.

The interior of the restaurant was a mess, but this place was a disaster area. There was no doubt remaining in the girl's mind, Konatsu didn't go down without a fight. Over one hundred dead birds littered the ground that was completely covered in black feathers. Thin ninja spikes, shurikens and napkins folded into throwing darts were everywhere. But there was still no sign of her kunoichi. Then she saw it. An arrow was sticking out of the crate that they used for target practice. It was strange because it had a note on it and the arrow had fins that were made from starched newspaper, a tell tale indication of who made the arrow. It was what her kunoichi used for construction material. She unrolled the napkin and saw a single word, written in lipstick.

The chef raised a battle aura that incinerated the feathers on the ground for meters and the paper in her hand. It didn't matter. She had a name. A name of someone who was going to pay, and pay dearly.

Kiima.



Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and prevents me from setting the world on fire. Fire good! Heh heh...

Last edited on January 26th, 2007



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